Kassius-Kage Petuha had never been to a farm, let alone seen an alpaca before.

When he did, his reaction was priceless.

In a moment captured by Kimi Ora Community School teacher Louise Taotahi, the 5-year-old along with classmate Julian Nelson, 6, can be seen hugging Barney - their arms tightly wrapped around its neck, their eyes closed, and their heads pressing against the fluffy creature.

"I hugged the animals," Kassius-Kage told Hawke's Bay Today with a big grin on his face on Friday.

Five-year-old Kassius-Kage Petuha with Barney the baby alpaca. Photo / Supplied
Five-year-old Kassius-Kage Petuha with Barney the baby alpaca. Photo / Supplied

The 5-year-old loved seeing the "piggies", and feeding the "hungry goat". But the alpaca was by far the pair's favourite.

Taotahi said she was quite surprised by how the photo turned out but believes it captures the moment "nicely".

The excursion to Funky Farm Petting Zoo on Thursday was somewhat unplanned for the year 0-1 class, but all 14 kids, most of whom have never been to a farm before, thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

"When inspiration strikes you've just got to go," Taotahi said.

The kids not only got to see the many animals on display but were rewarded with an icecream afterwards.

As a play-based school, they are encouraged to go out of the school environment and explore.

Taotahi said principal Matt O'Dowda is "really supportive".

"We are just encouraged to get them out and give them lots of different opportunities, especially ones that they haven't had before."


For many, Paharakeke (Flaxmere) is all they have known. By doing this, Taotahi said it develops their oral language and allows them to "feel comfortable and happy at school".

They've already been to Ōtātara Pā Historic Reserve, and Te Mata Peak.